World Health Organization: The coronavirus may never go away

World Health Organization officials say that populations around the world may have to learn to live with COVID-19 long term.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Coronavirus test swab
Coronavirus test swab

The new coronavirus may never go away and populations around the world will have to learn to live with it, the World Health Organization warned Wednesday, according to the AFP news agency.

As some countries around the world begin gradually easing lockdown restrictions imposed in a bid to stop the novel coronavirus from spreading, the WHO said it may never be wiped out entirely.

"We have a new virus entering the human population for the first time and therefore it is very hard to predict when we will prevail over it," said Michael Ryan, the WHO's emergencies director.

"This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away," he was quoted as having told a virtual press conference in Geneva.

"HIV has not gone away -- but we have come to terms with the virus," added Ryan.

More than half of humanity has been put under some form of lockdown since the coronavirus crisis began.

The WHO, however, warned there was no way to guarantee that easing the restrictions would not trigger a second wave of infections.

"Many countries would like to get out of the different measures," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"But our recommendation is still the alert at any country should be at the highest level possible."

Ryan added that there was a "long, long way to go" on the path to returning to normal, insisting that countries would have to stay the course.

"There is some magical thinking going on that lockdowns work perfectly and that unlocking lockdowns will go great. Both are fraught with dangers," he said.

The coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China, late last year and has since infected more than 4.2 million people and killed nearly 300,000 worldwide.

In Israel, the death toll from COVID-19 stood at 264 as of Wednesday evening.

There have been 4,052 confirmed cases in Israel, with 52 of them on respirators. Thus far, 12,232 Israelis have recovered from the virus.